Survivors SPEAK OUT! – Stuart ‘lucky’ White
Donna O’Donnell Figurski
1. What is your name? (last name optional)
2. Where do you live? (city and/or state and/or country) Email (optional)
3. When did you have your TBI? At what age?
August 9, 1996
4. How did your TBI occur?
I was riding my bike, and I was hit by a car.
5. When did you (or someone) first realize you had a problem?
My problem was apparent as soon as the accident happened. I went straight into a coma. I was fortunate enough that a First Aider wasn’t far from me.
6. What kind of emergency treatment, if any, did you have? (e.g., surgery,
I was in Emergency for nine days. I’m not sure what they did to me. Sorry.
7. Were you in a coma? If so, how long?
Yes. 9 days.
8. Did you do rehab? What kind of rehab (i.e., In-patient or Out-patient and Occupational, Physical, Speech, Other)? How long were you in rehab?
I was at the hospital for about a month and a half. Then I had a form of rehab at home, due to having a home tutor and the fact that I wasn’t able to do anything on my own. It took years for me to be back to normal.
9. What problems or disabilities, if any, resulted from your TBI? (e.g., balance, perception, personality, etc.)
Balance, personality, couldn’t read or write, speech problems, memory loss
10. How has your life changed? Is it better? Is it worse?
My life was worse at first, but now I can finally say that, after accepting the past, I can look into the future with confidence.
11. What do you miss the most from your pre-TBI life?
I miss my teenage childhood as I had to regain a lot of things I had lost.
12. What do you enjoy most in your post-TBI life?
I realise how lucky I have been, and I enjoy that I am now able to give something back to other TBI survivors.
13. What do you like least about your TBI?
I dislike my fatigue. (It sucks.)
14. Has anything helped you to accept your TBI?
Mainly my family
15. Has your injury affected your home life and relationships and, if so, how?
My relationships have been affected a bit. It is hard to explain TBI to someone who doesn’t understand it and who thinks it has passed, so I should just get over it.
16. Has your social life been altered or changed and, if so, how?
Yes, mainly planning things. I cannot plan many things due to being sleepy a lot.
17. Who is your main caregiver? Do you understand what it takes to be a caregiver?
I would say my parents, as they helped me a lot.
18. What are your future plans? What do you expect/hope to be doing ten years from now?
I hope to be helping other survivors.
19. Are you able to provide a helpful hint that may have taken you a long time to learn, but which you wished you had known earlier? If so, please state what it is to potentially help other TBI survivors with your specific kind of TBI.
Yes. Realise that you cannot give up on yourself. TBI is very hard work, but NEVER give up. You never know what is going to happen in the future.
20. What advice would you offer to other TBI survivors? Do you have any other comments that you would like to add?
It is hard work, but accept the past. You can still look back at it, and then in the future you will realise how far you have come. Be proud of yourself no matter what others say, as you are a survivor who has fought against the odds!
Thank you, Stuart, for taking part in this interview. I hope that your experience will offer some hope, comfort, and inspiration to my readers.
(Disclaimer: The views or opinions in this post are solely that of the interviewee.)
(Photos compliments of Stuart.)
If you would like to be a part of the SPEAK OUT! project, please go to TBI Survivor Interview Questionnaire for a copy of the questions and the release form.